Film Archive

International Programme 2017
Childhood Margreth Olin

A forest idyll – the world of a community of preschool children whose only task is to play. Without commentary and (almost) without adults, Margreth Olin explores a childhood paradise.


Documentary Film
90 minutes

Credits DOK Leipzig Logo

Margreth Olin
Margreth Olin
Rebekka Karijord
Øystein Mamen
Helge Billing, Michal Leszczylowski
Margreth Olin
Andreas Lindberg Svensson
An idyllic place in the forest – the world of a community of children. We even get the brief impression that they are on their own here. But the area is part of a kindergarten that works wholly without the quaint notion of early childhood education. It’s run on the principle that children learn by themselves. Fantastic figures are made, using everything the forest has to offer, stick horses are carved, whole kitchens built. They have no other task but to play – with the others and with nature. Adults appear only marginally. Their role is that of companion. They make suggestions, unobtrusively teach the children how to realise their ideas. There’s a beautiful scene in winter: two kids are sitting peacefully under a bush, eating snow jellybeans, lost in thought and wholly caught up in their pretence. But even the most wonderful time in kindergarten has to end. When school starts they must say goodbye to their forest paradise.

Margreth Olin observed the children aged one to six in their world over one year. In perfect Direct Cinema style she uses no explanatory voice-over or conversations between adults. The film’s story arc is determined only by the children’s play and interactions, following the change of seasons.

Lina Dinkla